John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

What happened to Andy Economou?

What happened to Andy Economou?
John William Tuohy

Former Hartford cop Andrew Economou, age 47, vanished from the earth on August 16th, 1981.

The last person to see him alive was his mistress. It was on a Saturday.  He was draped in jewelry, a gold necklace with a Greek symbol and two gold rings, one with a large diamond, and the other with a Greek design.

Separated from his wife, he started the day by dropping by her house in Rocky Hill Connecticut to have Chile hot dogs with her and kids. He told his daughter that he had placed a few hundred dollars in an envelope in the basement office in the house. It was something he did regularly.

Afterwards he drove to Hartford to meet his girlfriend in Hartford. They saw a movie and then he drove her back to her car that was parked near a steak house just off the highway. He walked her to her car, kissed her goodbye and said her was late for a meeting. He told her he had somewhere between $50,000 to $100,000 (About the equivalent of $265,514 today) in a paper bag in the car (No one is sure of the actual amount) and was going to New York City to work on a “secret deal”. He didn’t wait for her to start her car as he normally did, but climbed into his blue 1974 Scout pickup and drove off, heading south on I-91.

Neither he nor the car was never seen again. By all the hints in the case it appears that Andy Economou is dead and that he died during a deal gone wrong….maybe.
There are theories about what happened to Andy. One says that a former army buddy and close friend named Charlie Germano, was somehow involved. Police say Economou may have gone to New York to buy guns, probably for Germano. In New York one of two things happened, either the deal went bad and things got tough or someone told the gun sellers or someone else in New York that Economou was coming into the city with a bag of cash.

Germano, 68, refused repeated requests by state police for an interview, but he was interviewed by FBI agents and told them he was home in Southington the entire weekend when Economou disappeared. Germano, who had once owned a restaurant with Andy, denied knowing anything about secret deals Economou supposedly was doing for him or the contents of the notes the former cop left behind. He said he didn’t know anything about Economou disappearance “Even if I did know, I wouldn't say”

The word was that Andy was supposed to buy stolen gun in the state of Connecticut and resell them down in New York City. A friend of Andy’s named Charlie was involved in a February 23 of 1981 burglary of a sporting goods store in Hartford.

William Schimansky, who had a long criminal record worked at the sporting goods store. Schimansky was known to frequent Andy’s clubs and it isn’t certain he and Andy knew each other.  Schimansky left a crate of guns near a door and then broke into the building at night and made off with the guns. He was arrested and pled guilty along with six others.
Five months later, four of the stolen gun were found in Queens, NY, which led the police to Andy’s friend Charlie. The theory was that Charlie was supposed to buy the other stolen guns from the store robbers, or finance the buy, and then sell the guns in New York. Enter Andy and a bag a money and a trip to New York.

By why would a millionaire get involved with the sale of stolen guns. It would have generated chump changed compared to the type of money he was used to and the risk was high.  

Other say that the mob took Andy Economou out because he owned them money from a gambling debt or because he had been having an affair with a hoods wife, although both of those reasons seem highly unlikely. Perhaps he had made a bad loan to mob guy who refused to pay it back. Some say that one of the people he arrested and severely beat with a nightstick came for revenge. Or maybe one of his girlfriend’s got him involved with drug dealers. Law enforcement believes that through his sports gambling, which  went on for at least a decade, Economou made contacts in the Connecticut Mafia.

However, off the record, law enforcement says that the two most likely reasons he disappeared are related to an illegal gun sales operation he may have been involved in or that he had somehow moved in on lucrative mob run operations. According to the source, Economou tried to pay off the mob to keep them from harming him. The hoods agreed, directed him to a drive down to Brooklyn New York where they took the money and then killed him, although that seems like a trap the former cop would have avoided.  Others say that Economou is alive and well and living with a much younger girlfriend in either Greece, France or Brazil.
When he disappeared, Economou, the married father of three, owned a successful restaurant in Rocky Hill and was a millionaire. Friends and family recalled him as tough, a traditionally Greek masculine man who could be charming, occasionally arrogant, generous to a fault and funny, but sometimes a cheapskate with a dark, somber side. All agreed that he was prone to exaggeration, a bit of a gossip and a tireless go getter.

He had always been that way even when he was a kid growing up in the North End of Hartford where his father owned a small restaurant. He played football in high school and in 1954 he did a stint in the army, assigned to a guided missile unit in Massachusetts, where he met Charlie Germano who was also serving in the unit. It was about the same time that he met his wife Josephine Cenelli. They married in 1955 in a Greek cathedral.

He joined the Hartford Police Department in 1956 and was assigned to the very streets he had grown up on, streets that were changing fast in the 1950s and 1960s. The old Irish and Greek neighborhoods were changing over to African-Americans who were moving up from the South in search of jobs. Andy soon had a reputation as a tough beat cop who enforced the law. Coworkers described him as fearless. Others said he had a trigger temper didn’t fit in with the job.  But he complained about the pay, a $100 a week and left the forced after six years and opened a restaurant, the Edgewood Grill in Hartford, and then, in 1967, he opened Frank's Restaurant and Grill in Rocky Hill. At the same time he bought properties in East Hartford and Newington. The family suspects the money for the property purchases game from illegal gambling on national football games.


Now comfortable in the suburbs, he sold most of his properties and in the 1970s bought a disco that started to sink after disco phase ended. To keep the place alive, he brought exotic dancers in and become involved in the network of clubs owners who owned similar places.  He invested in more strip clubs but operated the businesses as a more or less absentee owner.  

The clubs brought problems in straight laced Connecticut. State charges of permitting prostitution, second-degree promoting prostitution, and permitting an obscene performance, were filed against Andy’s partner. Another permittee was charged with permitting prostitution and one of his dancers was charged with prostitution.

The club was slapped with a civil injunction prohibiting exotic dancers at the club from performing seven acts judged obscene, forcing the Andy and the dancers to sign contracts that stated they would not perform the acts. But that didn’t take off the pressure. In 1980, law enforcement began an anti-obscenity campaign that resulted in several arrests at one of Andy’s strip clubs.

That was enough. Andy began closing down the clubs and returning to running restaurants.


In 1981, the year he disappeared, something in the life of Andy Economou went wrong. One evening in 1981, a patrolman named Henry Dodenhoff was driving past Andy’s Rocky Hill restaurant when Andy walked out wearing bandages on both thumbs. The cop asked him what happened and Andy said that he had broken both his thumbs in a car door “I just laughed and moved on.” Dodenhoff said “Andy always had stories.''

Friends and girlfriends noted that just before he vanished, Andy was tense, edgy, lost in thought and confused. But there were no signs that he was in any sort of financial trouble, in fact he was planning on opening another restaurant.

On Friday, August 7, a week before he disappeared forever, Andy’s said she got a call wife got a phone call message from Charlie Germano’s wife about a “deal in New York.” Which she gave to her daughter to give to Andy when she drove down to his house in Old Lyme.
The next week, Friday August 14, Andy called Charlie Germano in New York where he worked for an electrical firm during the week and asked him to drop by his house when he returned to Connecticut for the weekend.

According to Charlie Germano Andy needed to withdraw a substantial amount of money from a Hartford bank to finance a deal he had pending. He intended to take a five-day loan against a $50,000 certificate of deposit he had. (He may have also taken additional cash from a safety deposit box)

Charlie said that before Andy went into the bank he said to him “When I come out of the bank, don’t let nobody come near me,” Andy told Charlie, who was waiting in the car. He told his friend “I got a gun right there under the seat”

When the family didn’t hear from him after a full week had gone by, his daughter said she went down to the basement office to retrieve the envelope with money in it and found a note allegedly written by Andy.

The envelope read “Open in the event I am missing or killed” and was dated Friday August 15th. The note inside read “On Sunday, August 16, 1981, I am going to New York City … I am taking (100,000) One hundred thousand dollars of my personal money with me.” And that he intended to loan the money to Charlie Germano and that he planned on making $15,000 in interest on the loan and that if he did not return from the trip “You will know that I am dead.” And that his estate should be divided amongst his wife, daughter, and two sons. It was signed, “I love all of you and may you all forgive my sins. Love, Andy.”

The police were called in and put out a missing person’s bulletin for Andy and eventually both local and federal investigators became involved with the case including the Chief State Attorney’s office, state police, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Investigators went over everything twice and with a fine tooth comb. They checked his business records, interviewed dozens of people and subpoenaed his bank records. They also followed reported sightings of Andy in Florida, California, and on a boat but none of them panned out.

The Hartford Courant newspaper compared Andy’s photo to over 300 pictures of unidentified bodies that were found in New York in the year after his death and none matched.

The police had some evidence that Andy gambled from time to time, he could afford it and he wasn’t known to have a gambling problem although he told his wife he was often a big stakes winner

“Most of the house” his wife said “was built on football winnings — our carpet, that came from football. Andy loved football, and he did bet football, which was illegal, but hundreds of people do.”

He also had a habit of loaning money to friends and occasionally to customers although the cops doubt that had anything to do with his disappearance.

Andy was living in the village Old Lyme Connecticut and kept a boat in nearby at a Saybrooke marina called the Terra Mar, a suspected front for organized crime. After he disappeared, someone had ransacked it for top to bottom. In the late 1950s, Terra Mar, with several large outdoor pools, a big yacht marina, was a celebrity hang out for stars and celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Jane Mansfield, Ted Kennedy, Tom Jones and others. It also had illegal big dollar gambling in the summer months that brought gangsters and finally the state police who closed the place down.

The police questioned Charlie Germano who said that the note was a hoax and more than one investigator in the case agrees with him. A week later, a second note emerged. It is unclear who found this note. The family turned the second note over to police days after Andy disappeared. The FBI verified that the notes were written by Andy but at least one agent was skeptical saying, “I’ve never seen anything like it” and one of his close friends thought the notes were a forgery.

Could the purpose of the notes have been to throw investigators off the track of the real killers? The killer may have picked up on the tidbits of Charlie Germano and the trip to New York that days and added them to the notes. So, if that were true, who was at the cook out that day and who had access to the basement?

A rumor made the round that he was buried in a garage in Hamden Connecticut belonging to a man named Richard Beedle.  The garage was supposed to be a mob burial ground. Authorities dug up the garage and found bone fragments but none of them belonged to Andy Economou.

A private investigator hired by the family surmised that Economou got on a ship to Brazil on Aug. 17, the day after he disappeared. To go along with that, many of Economou's former Hartford cop friends theorize that he started a new life across the Atlantic.
They also hired a psychic, who told them Andy’s body would be found near the water, brackish water to be exact. Based on that information the family searched swamps from New Haven to Cape Cod. Another psychic said he had been shot in the head and the chest. A said that Andy was alive but was in grave danger and needed to be found immediately.
The family also said they received several anonymous calls late at night with the called saying “his bones are in a plastic bag and his body’s in the East River” or “his head is in a bag and his hands are cut off.” They claimed that other caller threated them, one said he was going to toss a bomb into their house.

And then there was nothing. The case got cold and the odd tale Andy Economou’s disappearance ended.
Almost forty years have passed since Andy Economou fell of the face of the earth. A probate judge declared Andy legally dead in March 1991. The records show that the total value of his estate was $1,080,000. A short time later, his family, his entire family, moved to Virginia Beach Virginia for reasons unknown. Till this day, some police investigators who worked on the case swear that Andy’s family has a better idea than they do as to what became of Andy Economou.


1: a powerful often violent whirlpool sucking in objects within a given radius 2: something resembling a maelstrom in turbulence

 Maelstrom comes from an early Dutch proper noun that is a combination of the verb malen ("to grind") and the noun stroom ("stream"). The original Maelstrom, now known as the Moskstraumen, is a channel located off the northwest coast of Norway that has dangerous tidal currents and has been popularized among English speakers by writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne (whose writing was widely translated from French) in stories exaggerating the Maelstrom's tempestuousness and transforming it into a whirling vortex. Maelstrom entered English in the 16th century and was soon applied more generally in reference to any powerful whirlpool. By the mid-19th century, it was being applied figuratively to things or situations resembling such maelstroms in turbulence or confusion.

The Winsted Wildman.

The Winsted Wildman.

According to legend there is some sort of creature wandering about the woods of Winsted Connecticut. He or she is large and covered in black hair from head to foot, scares people it comes across and then disappears.
The first reported sighting came in 1895 when Selectman Riley Smith, while traveling to Colebrook, stopped along the road to pick blueberries, accompanied by his bulldog. The dig suddenly started growling and then ran off. Seconds later the Winsted Wildman appeared and started screaming at Smith (Apparently the monster speaks English)  

The in 1972, two men reported seeing the monster, whom they said stood at least eight feet tall and made a sort of combination cat snarls and frog sounds. In 1974 two couples reported that a large creature charged at the car they were in.
So what’s the real story?

The original wire report of a wild man in the woods of Winsted came from a young newspaper reporter named Lou Stone who worked for the Winsted Evening Citizen newspaper. Basically, Stone made the story up. Needing to make a few extra dollars he wrote up the story and eventually sold it to the New York Times for $150.00. The Times sent two reporters up to Connecticut to find the Wild man but came back with nothing but a wide assortment of tales from the locals who decided to put the reporters on a bit.  


Connecticut's lost pirate treasure

David Marteen was a Dutch privateer (A privateer was a private person or ship that engaged in maritime warfare under a commission of war) based in Tortuga during the mid-17th century. His ship conducted raids against Spanish strongholds in Mexico and Nicaragua during 1663 until 1665. In one of these raids, he led his men 50 miles overland and successfully looted a series of villages.

He looked for a safe place to bury his treasure and for some reason known only to him he decided to sail about a thousand miles north to Connecticut and then sailed up the Connecticut River and came ashore in an area around Windsor called "Big Hill". From there he eventually moved west along the Farmington River to the Salmon Brook River where he and his crew buried their silver, gold and jewelry.

Is there any truth to the story? Well the Dutch, who essentially settled large parts of Connecticut, were still a force in area in 1650 and Marteen may have seen the Nutmeg state as a new beginning. However Marteen wasn’t a pirate in the modern sense, wasn’t wanted by anyone except the Spanish and had no reason at all to bury his treasure.  

Great things

Little People's Village in Middlebury, Connecticut

I remember reading about Middlebury’s Little People Village back in the mid-1970s, when the Waterbury Republican American ran a long feature on it. I went out to see the sight that weekend with my girlfriend at the time and the place, which is a complex of crumbling doll-sized houses and other tiny structures was overrun with dozens of other people who had also read the Republican’s story.
What brought everyone out there, into the woods, was the legend behind the place. As the story goes back in the middle 1800’s, an unnamed man and his wife who lived on the property starting spotting Little People, fairies if you will and built the tiny but sprawling village for them. Eventually the husband went mad, declared himself King of the Little People and built a throne for himself in the middle of the village. They say that if you sit in the throne you’ll die within 7 years (I sat in the throne. Four decades later I am not dead)
It’s a great story, it’s a fun story, but the truth is that the entire thing was a built in about 1900 as an  ornamental garden that sat in the middle of a once very busy trolley stop that took Waterburian’s out to Quassapuag Amusement Park. When the line was discontinued, the village was lost to time and eventually fell apart.



As it is all other years, the celebrity obsessed media started 2017 by reporting on the mindless dribble that came gushing out of the mouths of the TV and film stars who have no one around them to explain to them that because they are famous it doesn’t mean their bright or have even the slightest grasp on the current political situation in the US or the world.  Still, former drama students, assume, wrongly of course, that America, indeed the world, needs to hear their views on climate change, immigration, and any and all other national concerns.

Let’s start with Anthony Bourdain. 

“The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the up swell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now” Anthony Bourdain on Donald Trump’s victory.

He’s a classic example of the smirking, contemptuous, privileged guy who lives in a bubble and comes across as an effete snob from the suburbs who can get bitchy about anything American (Bourdain says the most disgusting thing he has ever eaten is a Chicken McNugget……really? Of all the food in the world this I what you came up with?) while singing the praises about anything outside the United States.

Bourdain was raised in the wealthy town of Leonia, New Jersey, the son of Gladys Sacksman,  a staff editor for The New York Times.(Of course) and Pierre Bourdain a classical music industry executive for Columbia Records.

So now you can see how the multimillionaire Bourdain would feel such a connection to an immigrant from Honduras.

His fellow millionaire and junk television star Donald Trump really gets Bourdain’s panties in a bunch. Trump "offends me" Bourdain said. For the record, Trump has never made mention of his feelings for Bourdain.

An intolerant liberal, Bourdain said he had “utter and complete contempt” (Ouy again with the contempt?) for restaurateur Alessandro Borgognone, who announced in November he would open a sushi restaurant at Trump’s hotel in Washington. “I will never eat in his restaurant,” Bourdain declared in that interview.

In one hissy fit of hysteria Bourdain, said that if Trump were to win the presidency and deport 11 million illegal immigrants, "every restaurant in America would shut down," and restaurant owners share his sentiment because "they'd be up the creek. ... It is really, really getting hard to find people to do the jobs."

However what Bourdaine won’t get all prissy about, hell, he won’t even mention it, are the slave wages his restaurants pay cooks, dishwashers and wait staff. Nor will he mention the total and complete lack of benefits and vacation time their given and that’s why the jobs are difficult to fill.

Of course in Bourdain version of reality the United Federal Government is organized and efficient enough to deport 11,000,000 illegals in four years. In Bourdain rich kid view of the world everyone who works in a restaurant is South American and illegal (They aren’t) and that holding that view isn’t bigoted because he’s a great white rich liberal.

Let’s assume Bourdaine panic driven statements are correct and the US Government, the same guys who purchased $4.50 hammers for $1,500.00, are capable of deporting 11,000,000 Hispanics….would every restaurant in America close?

No, they wouldn’t. Restaurants survived for hundreds of years in America before the invasion of illegal immigrants into the country. What would happen is this; Restaurants and air heads like Bourdaine would have to start paying the help a living wage.

Bourdaine, a prep school educated white man’s white man and a former cocaine, heroin and LSD user,  did have some use for the kitchen help as he wrote “"We were high all the time, sneaking off to the walk-in refrigerator at every opportunity to 'conceptualize.' Hardly a decision was made without drugs. Cannabis, methaqualone, cocaine, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms soaked in honey and used to sweeten tea, secobarbital, tuinal, amphetamine, codeine and, increasingly, heroin, which we'd send a Spanish-speaking busboy over to Alphabet City to get.”

Sending a hapless Spanish-speaking busboy into the line of a potential narcotics arrest is okay. However deporting illegal Spanish-speaking busboys who take jobs from US citizens is a bad thing.

Coming across as annoyingly immature, the twice married-twice divorced Bourdaine produced a show entitled “France: Why the French don’t suck” proving to me anyway, that this rich kid from Jersey is a dolt. Don’t think he’s a dolt? Sit back and listen to his limited vocabulary and rambling belly button gazing philosophies and think about it again.
Next we have Rosie O’Donnell, a woman married to a woman who thinks Donald Trump is mentally unstable. 

O’Donnell, who was once voted America’s most annoying celebrity is a conspiracy theorist on the destruction of the World Trade Center and once compared American soldiers to terrorists and who said "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam."

She also a conformed racial bigot who once used a series of ching chongs to imitate newscasters in China. In her apology to an outraged Chinese-American population or what Time called a "pseudo-apology", O'Donnell said "Some people have told me it's as bad as the n-word. I was like, really? I didn't know that." And then followed up with "there's a good chance I'll do something like that again, probably in the next week, not on purpose. Only 'cause it's how my brain works."

Let’s not forget that she’s done fine work as a religious bigot as well, specifically disrespecting the Roman Catholics. According to O’Donnell the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act led her to suspect that Roman Catholic Supreme Court judges were behind the decision and not the logic of law and later added "I hope the Catholic Church gets sued until the end of time. Maybe, you know, we can melt down some of the gold toilets in the Pope's Vatican and pay off some of the lawsuits because, the whole tenet of living a Christ-like life, has been lost in Catholicism."

And Donald Trump’s the crazy one.

Then we have Bruce Springsteen, a high school graduate who plays instruments for a living who doubts that Donald Trump, a builder, real estate developer and multi billionaire, isn’t competent enough to be president of the United States.

Springsteen had no such doubts about Hussain Barrack Obama whose entire resume prior to being elected president was running for office nor did he have any doubts about professional candidate Hillary Clinton’s ability to be president.

Despite his complete lack of advanced education, Springsteen, who is “disgusted” over the election, is obviously a deep thinker because he has concluded that the working class voted for Donald Trump because they feared diversity. When asked if he would give up making money to ensure America maintains its ideals, he said no, that he would only play a "very, very small part" in keeping things right.

But we must be kind to the old man, (He’s 67, that’s old.) because he’s afraid. He lives in fear, the poor thing, over Donald Trump. 

I leave the craziest of the group for last. Lena Dunham.

Lena started out the new year by not leaving the country as SHE PROMISED she would if Donald Trump won the election, showing and telling Glamour Magazine that the ample amount of cellulite on her chubby little legs are a 'triumph for womankind'

“What do I love most about our new ["Girls"'] Glamour Magazine cover, besides the fact that we’re all together, loving each other, I’d say that it’s the cellulite that has been revealed on my thigh. A triumph for womankind”

Well….no, not really. Showing the fat on your legs, Lena, isn’t a triumph for womankind, manhood, any hood at all doesn’t triumph over your fat cells girl. Get over yourself.
Oh, she also said that she was sorry for saying she wished she had an abortion.
If it were up to me I would gladly allow every illegal in America to stay in exchange for deporting this air head. The problem is that no other country would probably take her.

Stay weird


“Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction.” - Al Bernstein

I love Greek Mythology

The Sea Deities

Benthesikyme, a goddess of the waves, is the daughter of Poseidon and one of his many wives was Amphitrite, a sea goddess. Known as the “lady of the deep swells” Benthesikyme was nymph of the African sea and later went on to become the first known queen of Ethiopia.

 Kymopoleia was a goddess of the waves as Benthesikyme, only her mother is unknown. She was known as a “haliae,” or nymph of the sea who made waves, violent sea storms and earthquakes. She went on to marry Briareus, who was a storm giant with 100 arms and 50 heads.

Words to know and use

Deem: 1: To come to think or judge: consider 2: To have an opinion : believe
 In the Middle Ages, demen was a fateful word. Closely related to doom, this precursor of deem meant "to act as a judge" or "to sentence, condemn, or decree." These meanings passed to deem itself, but we haven't used deem to mean "to legally condemn" since the early 17th century. Though deem is still frequently used in contexts pertaining to the law, today it means "to judge" only in a broader sense of "to decide (something specified) after inquiry and deliberation," as in "the act was deemed unlawful" or "the defendant is deemed to have agreed to the contract." Outside of the law, deem usually means simply "to consider." Some usage commentators consider deem pretentious, but its use is well established in both literary and journalistic contexts.

Pundit: 1. A learned person. 2. A person who offers commentary or judgments as an expert on a certain topic. From Hindi pandit, from Sanskrit pandita (learned). 

Good words to have



Definition: A market situation in which each of a few buyers exerts a disproportionate influence on the market

You're probably familiar with the word monopoly, but you may not recognize its conceptual and linguistic relative, the much rarer oligopsony. Both monopoly and oligopsony are ultimately from Greek, although monopoly passed through Latin before being adopted into English. Monopoly comes from the Greek prefix mono-, which means "one," and pōlein, "to sell." Oligopsony derives from the combining form olig-, meaning "few," and the Greek noun opsōnia—"the purchase of victuals"—which is ultimately from the combination of opson, "food," and ōneisthai, "to buy." It makes sense, then, that oligopsony refers to a buyer's market in which the seller is subjected to the potential demands of a limited pool of buyers. Another related word is monopsony, used for a more extreme oligopsony in which there is only a single buyer.



Definition 1: deadly or pernicious in influence 2: foreboding or threatening evil
The bale of baleful comes from Old English bealu ("evil"), and the bane of the similar-looking baneful comes from Old English bana ("slayer" or "murderer"). Baleful and baneful are alike in meaning as well as appearance, and they are sometimes used in quite similar contexts—but they usually differ in emphasis. Baleful typically describes what threatens or portends evil (e.g., "a baleful look," "baleful predictions"). Baneful applies typically to what causes evil or destruction (e.g., "a baneful secret," "the baneful bite of the serpent"). Both words are used to modify terms like influence, effect, and result, and in such uses there is little that distinguishes the

William Hanhardt, the Chicago Mob's Long Term Plant on Chicago Police Force has died.

John William Tuohy

William Hanhardt, a one-time high-ranking member of the Chicago Police who went to prison for running a mob-connected jewel-theft ring, has died at age 88 from complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In an overreach, the government called Hanhardt one of the most crooked cops in Chicago history, (There have been Chicago cops who were far worse than Hanhardt although they probably stole less money than he did) However Hanhardt is the highest-ranking  Chicago Police officer ever to be convicted of a crime.

Federal prosecutors said that Hanhardt ran a mob-tied, highly sophisticated theft ring that stole tens of millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry from salesmen across the country. When they indicted Hanhardt, the Justice Department note that “Hanhardt's organization surpasses in duration and sophistication -just about any other jewelry theft ring we've seen in federal law enforcement”

Then-Assistant U.S. Attorney John Scully added "His greed and loyalty was to the mob and to his mob-associated jewelry theft crew, which were more important to him than his family, the Chicago Police Department or the citizens that he was sworn to protect"

Hanhardt worked for the Chicago Police for 33 years, joining the force in 1953, and making headlines on a regular basis including an incident in 1962, when, while staking out a North Side home, he Hanhardt came across three robbers with a submachine gun and ended up in a shootout in which two of the suspects were killed.(Below)

Gifted with an encyclopedic memory and a natural charisma, he was seen as a cop's cop and he rose through the ranks quickly. He was commander of the burglary section, chief of detectives, deputy superintendent, head of the Central Investigations Unit, a hand-picked team that targeted, among others, jewel thieves. He worked closely with the FBI, piling up commendations, including one from J. Edgar Hoover. He retired in 1986 as a captain.

Thomas P. Sullivan, who served as U.S. attorney in Chicago from 1977 to 1981, said "He was a very commanding presence - a big man" and he used it when he played a mob killer in Michael Mann's 1980s television show "Crime Story."

Hanhardt later became a technical adviser to the series.

But there was a darker side to him as well. He came out of the near West Side neighborhood, "the Patch," and grew up with a number of future mob bosses including Sam Giancana.
In the 1950s, a corrupt ex-cop claimed Hanhardt had shaken down bookies and burglars and Bob Fuesel, a retired Internal Revenue Service agent who worked on organized crime cases during the 1960s and '70s, says he was told by members of the police intelligence unit "to stay away from that guy. ... He was bad news."

Fuesel also said that it was common knowledge for decades among organized crime prosecutors that Hanhardt was associated with the mob. In fact many mob informants told the FBI that Hanhardt been on the underworld payroll for decades.

The charge is backed up by bank robber Robert "Bobby the Beak" Siegel said several years ago that in the late 1960s, the word was that the mob boss Angelo Volpe was paying a high ranking detective $1,200 a month and sweetening the deal with a new car every two years.
Also in the Sixties, Hanhardt’s name and phone number showed up in the address book of a murdered labor racketeer.

Just before he retired from the force in 1986, Hanhardt testified at the trial of mobster Anthony Spilotro, the Outfits man in Las Vegas and his brother, Michael. During the trial Hanhardt took the unusual step of discrediting a key government witness. The judge ruled a mistrial, and the Spilotro Brothers were released and returned home to Chicago where they were murdered.

Court documents also claim that in 1979, after he had left the force, Hanhardt might have leaked details of a major FBI investigation into Las Vegas casinos skimming to the mob.
He was also a political hack. While deputy superintendent, he was demoted for allegedly having ties to the corrupt 1st Ward, which was then controlled by the mob but he was later promoted to chief of detectives.

 Hanhardt's crew was formed while Hanhardt was still on the force, and included Chicago mob hit man Paul "the Indian" Schiro (He was nicknamed "The Indian" because of his physical resemblance to an American Indian or an Asian Indian depending upon who told the story ) who kept his base of operations in Phoenix, Arizona.


A career criminal, he entered the Outfit through his childhood friendship with Anthony Spilotro. Schiro was a long time member of Spilotro’s "Hole in the Wall Gang" that operated mostly out of Las Vegas. It was Spilotro who moved Schiro to Scottsdale, Arizona in the 1970s.

Schiro became a partner with 73-year-old Emil Vaci who operated a mob-connected business bringing high dollar gamblers to Las Vegas. The mob, some say it was Schiro himself, eventually murdered Vaci. 


Vaci got his because he had been implicated with Jay Vandermark, a slot skim expert who cheated the Chicago mob by diverting some of the skim to himself. On June 7, 1986, Vaci's body was found wrapped in a tarp in a drainage ditch canal near 48th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix.


After Spilotro's murder, Schiro allegedly became the boss of Chicago interests in Arizona, taking the job from Jack Tocco of Detroit but the Vaci murder came home to haunt him.
Schiro was convicted in 2001 for his role in the Hanhardt’s jewelry theft ring and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.

In 2005 Schiro was among the indicted on charges of racketeering and murder as part of the massive “Operation Family Secrets" run by the Justice Department. Outfit hitman-turned-government witness, Nicholas Calabrese, said that Schiro acted as a lookout and listening to a police scanner during the hit on Vaci and also took part in the planning of Vaci's killing. Calabrese said he and an accomplice pulled Vaci into a van, then Calabrese shot Vaci several times in the head and dumped his body in a canal. Schiro was convicted of racketeering in the Vaci case and sentenced to 20 years in prison.


Another member of the crew was William "Cherry Nose" Brown, the nephew of Mad Sam DeStafano, a murdering Chicago mob lunatic. 

 The first of the heists took place in Wisconsin in 1984, two years before Hanhardt retired from the force. In that case, a Chicago-area jewelry carrying $310,000 in watches stopped at a Holiday Inn in Glendale, Wis., and parked and locked his Mercedes-Benz by a front doorway and went inside to use a bathroom. When he came out minutes later, the car and the goods were gone. Other heists masterminded by Hanhardt took place in Arizona, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The gang stalked jewelry salesmen around the country, analyzing their travel patterns, making duplicate keys of their cars and enlisting private information from police databases. After retiring from the Police Department in 1986, Hanhardt tapped a Chicago police sergeant and a detective to access law enforcement computers to help him gather intelligence about jewelry salesmen targeted for theft. The Hanhardt gang stalked more than 100 jewelry salespeople handling more than $40 million in merchandise over 15 years.
"It was a very sophisticated kind of conduct, the kind you usually just see in the movies and on TV shows," said Eric Sussman a former prosecutor on the case

They used coded language, aliases and carried bulletproof vests and a fake mustache and beard. Their tools and equipment ranged from lock picks to planting bugs and a device with flash bulbs to temporarily blind victims. They kept meticulous records on potential targets, obtaining their phone numbers (some unlisted), bank account information, frequent flyer numbers and travel itineraries. They convinced auto manufacturers they were dealers to get access codes to cut new keys for cars. And they bought luggage that matched bags carried by their targets, so they could make a quick switch.

Unlike most crook they knew how to wait. Months before a hotel hosted a trade show for jewelers, the crew worked to distract hotel clerks and make duplicate keys for the safety-deposit boxes where salesmen would store gems.

While the gang actually got more than $5 million worth of goods, they had targeted more than 100 jewelry salesmen and $40 million in jewelry, gems and watches.

It all came apart in 1999 when an associate in the jewel theft ring got involved in a nasty divorce and led a private eye to a bank safe deposit box that contained scores of uncut diamonds and jewels and a phony ID her husband had used along with phone bugs and car tracing beepers. Word of the account soon reached the FBI who began looking into Hanhardt's jewel-theft ring in the mid-1990s not an easy job for the FBI who face an onslaught of resistance from within the police establishment when they first began the investigation.

By 1996, a decade after he had retired, the government was wiretapping his home phone, recording hundreds of conversations. The tapes revealed Hanhardt was calling police department contacts, who did database searches on jewelers.

An informant gave the agents copies of index cards with information on jewelers used by Hanhardt and others to conduct surveillance. A check revealed that several of those people were, in fact, theft victims. Surveillance showed Hanhardt and his crew attending a jewelry show in Tucson in 1996, using a false name to register and obtaining a safe deposit box at the hotel. From that the Hanhardt organization managed to take copies of keys for a safety-deposit boxes where salesmen would store gems.

A trap was set.

A jewelry salesman who had been robbed by the gang of $310,000 in Baume & Mercier watches agreed to act as a bait for an FBI investigation into the case. The salesman packed $58,000 in luxury watches provided by the feds, in the trunk of his Lincoln and drove from his house in suburban Chicago and headed south into Indiana as two cars -- a Buick Century and an Olds Cutlass -- trailed him 50 miles, all the way to the parking lot of the Spa restaurant in Porter, Ind. He parked and went inside, one of the thieves opened the trunk of the Lincoln with a key and lifting out two jewelry cases sped away. The thieves had used a valet key they copied while the car was at a repair shop. But FBI agents sitting in a van were videotaping the scene. The film showed that one of the look outs in the robbery was William Hanhardt.

Hanhardt and his gang were arrested a few days later.

 “His greed and loyalty was to the mob and to his mob-associated jewelry theft crew, which were more important to him than his family, the Chicago Police Department or the citizens that he was sworn to protect,” then-Assistant U.S. Attorney John Scully said at Hanhardt’s sentencing hearing in May 2002.

Hanhardt pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of conspiring to transport stolen property across state lines in eight heists in seven states over more than a decade. He agreed to pay $4,845,000 in restitution for stolen jewelry, gems and watches and was eventually sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

 A jewelry industry official said at the time of Hanhardt's guilty plea, "I've not seen anything as detailed and as lengthy as the dossiers they put together on the traveling salesmen," calling the gang's work "unprecedented."

But it went further than jewelry theft. At Hanhardt’s 2002 sentencing hearing, authorities also disclosed that in 1996 he asked a police investigator to keep him posted on a heroin shipment from South America. The fed’s believed that Hanhardt intended to tip off the drug dealers with the information.  

A week after his plea Hanhardt was rushed to a hospital from his home where he was found unconscious. Doctors determined that he had taken an overdose of a powerful pain killer in a suicide attempt. He was arrested and placed in the psychiatric unit at a local Hospital.
In prison, Hanhardt dealt with a series of health problems, including cancer and heart disease. (He was also drawing a police pension of more than $70,000 a year because his conviction came two years before the felony forfeiture rule was enacted.)

 He was released from prison in 2011. A week before Hanhardt was released from prison Jerry Scalise then 74 years old, was about to go on trial when the FBI found a letter he had written to former chief of Hanhardt, which read “Everyone in court looks at you as guilty and that defendants often forget they did do the crime.” The only approach, Scalise wrote, is to make something else the issue to trick the jury.

Jerry Scalise

Is the hood who stole the 45-carat Marlborough diamond from a British jewelry store in 1980. He was caught and did a long prison sentence in the United Kingdom. When Scalise returned to the U.S., he teamed up with Marlborough diamond cohort Art Rachel and mob soldier Bobby Pullia, and allegedly plotted suburban bank heists.

Art Rachel and Bobby Pullia 

Scalise and crew also tried to rob the residence of former mob boss Angelo "the Hook" LaPietra, according to the government, targeting the home for hidden valuables after news reports that another Outfit boss, Frank Calabrese, had stashed money and jewels behind the basement walls of his house.

Angelo "the Hook" LaPietra,